Pate Joins IFC and GOP Women at Shooting Range


Secretary of State Paul Pate joins GOP Women at Crossroads Shooting Sports.

JOHNSTON-The Polk County Republican Women promoted Second Amendment rights at their May meeting at Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston.  The guest speaker was Iowa Firearms Coalition President Barry Snell, and Secretary of State Paul Pate was in attendance.

Barry gave an update on the significant achievements of the IFC during the 2017 legislative session.  Specifically, he referred to HF 517, also known as the gun omnibus.  He started with an explanation of the Stand Your Ground portion of the bill.

“Stand Your Ground means that you can defend yourself not only at home, but anywhere.  One of the things that we got with this is protection from civil lawsuits.  We’ve actually had this happen before.  A few years ago, there was a guy who was chased in a road rage incident.  He pulled over to assess the damage in a parking lot, and when he did that, the perpetrator caught up with him, and he had to shoot him.  He was sentenced to four months in jail, lost his job, lost his home, lost everything that he had.  Stand Your Ground would have protected him from that.”

The next piece of HF 517 that Barry discussed was the elimination of the age restriction for youth handgun instruction.

“Before, kids under the age of 14 were not allowed to use a handgun, regardless of supervision.  We find that’s something that most gun owners in Iowa have violated at some point.  We have a very rural community here, and the tradition is that you take your kids out behind the barn and teach them how to shoot.  We had legislators admit in committee meetings, “I’m a felon!  I have violated this law!””

Another part of the bill that Barry touched on was preemption by the state that will protect gun rights.

“If you can prove from a legal standpoint that you were adversely affected by a law restricting guns in your local community, you have grounds for a lawsuit.”

Barry Snell speaks to GOP Women

“Another really neat thing, from a civil liberties perspective, is that we have privatized permit holder records.  Before, I could go into the county sheriff’s office and do a FOIA request, and get all of your biographical data.  In the past, we’ve seen Cityview here in Des Moines and another newspaper in Cedar Rapids publish the list of gun owners in their area.  In fact, there was a guy in Cedar Rapids who was burglarized two weeks after the publication of the list.  These groups who publish these lists do it to harass you.  It’s part of their leftist progressive agenda.”

Barry also shared past legislative accomplishments of the IFC, including Shall Issue permit revisions in 2010 and legalization of suppressors in 2016.

Barry concluded with the importance of involvement as early as the election cycle before the legislative session starts and future goals of the IFC.

“This last election cycle, we did something that we hadn’t really done before.  We got directly involved in elections.  Before, our focus was on policy.  We worked with House leadership on this, and they spent many late nights working hard, but then our bills would die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.  Of the four Senate races we were involved with, we won three.  The message that I will leave you with is that elections matter.  You have to be involved with elections.  The only way for me to get things like this done is if we have a legislature that has common sense.  You do that through elections.”

Going forward, Barry said that the IFC is going to advocate for adding an amendment to the Iowa state constitution providing for Second Amendment rights.

“Iowa is one of six states that does not have a specific amendment to protect the Second Amendment in its constitution.  While we have the federal Second Amendment, there is nothing in place to protect Iowans from its own legislature or courts.  It’s going to take a minimum of four years, because a constitutional amendment requires passage through two General Assemblies and a ballot initiative.  But we know that guns are one of the top issues that motivate Iowa voters, and if we activate the grassroots like we did last time, we can get this done.”

Following the IFC presentation, Polk GOP Women members had the opportunity to shoot at Crossroads gun range.  The next meeting is June 15th, with guest John Thompson, a member of the Republican State Central Committee and candidate for state Treasurer.

MacKenzie Dreeszen is a legislative assistant in the Iowa House and a political consultant specializing in fundraising.